The Meaning of Repentance
The word ‘repent’ means to acknowledge your sin, renounce it, seek God’s forgiveness, and try to live differently. It means doing an about-face turn and heading in the opposite direction.
If you go twenty miles down the road in the wrong direction, it requires doing a U-turn and coming twenty miles back. At first this can seem discouraging. But it’s profitable, because next time you’ll think twice about where you’re headed.
Repentance sometimes means making restitution to others. Zacchaeus was a tax collector who got rich by overcharging people. But after he met Jesus he said, ‘If I have cheated anyone, I will pay back four times as much’ (Luke 19:8 GNT). God is more than willing to forgive you, but He may allow you to experience the painful consequences of your sin in order to motivate you towards obedience.
‘No discipline is enjoyable while it is happening – it’s painful! But afterward there will be a peaceful harvest of right living for those who are trained in this way’ (Hebrews 12:11 NLT). Satan will try to tell you that you are beyond the reach of God’s grace, but you’re not.
The Prodigal Son wasted his inheritance and ended up in a pigsty. But the day he decided to come back home, his father ran to meet him and restored him to full sonship in the family. And God will do that for you too. ‘Let the wicked change their ways and banish the very thought of doing wrong. Let them turn to the LORD that he may have mercy on them. Yes, turn to our God, for he will forgive generously’ (Isaiah 55:7 NLT).
‘Godly sorrow produces repentance leading to salvation.’ 2 Corinthians 7:10 NKJV